As India kicked off their South Africa tour with Boxing Day Test in Centurion, there were a few surprises for fans at the toss. While Virat Kohli winning the coin flip left everyone amused, it was the playing XI which put Twitter on fire.
Once again, Ajinkya Rahane was named in Indian side at the No. 5 slot despite his poor form in last one year. Even the cricket experts did not look too pleased with the choice by Indian team management to pick Rahane ahead of the other in-form batters.
“Shreyas Iyer doesn’t find a place in the spot and you’ve gone with Rahane, I think so it’s the last throw of dice, hoping that it comes alright. If it doesn’t, I think this is going to be a huge Test match for him,” said Aakash Chopra on Star Sports before the start of play. Ajit Agarkar agreed with Chopra’s opinion as he accepted that he would have also picked either Iyer or Hanuma Vihari ahead of Rahane.
He will know he’s been lucky: Harsha Bhogle
Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle also looked slightly perplexed to see Rahane’s name in the team list. He added that India have shown immense faith on the experienced campaigner from Mumbai and the middle-order batsman would know that he’s been lucky. Meanwhile, one of the fans tweeted that all he wants in life is Rahane’s luck.
India have given a huge vote of confidence to Ajinkya Rahane. He will know he's been lucky.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 26, 2021
Rahane jaisa luck chahaye.
— 𝕍𝕒𝕖𝕖⁷ (@borntoshineXX) December 26, 2021
Some of the fans expressed their disappointment to see neither Vihari nor Iyer in the side. After India’s solid start in first session, one user also sarcastically commented that only Ajinkya Rahane can make this match interesting.
Disappointed to see Rahane selected over Vihari or Iyer.
— Amit Bobde (@malkhedkar) December 26, 2021
Only rahane can make this match interesting
— RAHANE WARRIOR (@nerdy279) December 26, 2021
In no time, the memes also started to roll all over social media. While one of them reflected on the fact that Dravid and Kohli saved Rahane from dropping, there was one hilarious 3 Idiots meme which compared the cricketer to a government employee based on the aspect of job security.
— memes_hallabol (@Akhipedia1) December 26, 2021
— shubham (@shubhamthinkss) December 26, 2021
— Chaitany Thakare (@chait_9) December 26, 2021
One of the users sarcastically commented that while Vihari has too much preparation (as he has been playing for India A team in SA) and Iyer has too much form (scored a century and fifty vs NZ), it was best to pick Ajinkya Rahane.
On the other hand, a fan expressed in anger that it is not gully cricket where the captain is selecting his friends only, presumably hinting towards the bond that Rahane and Kohli shares.
Vihari has too much preparation and Iyer has too much form. Best to pick Rahane.#INDvsSA
— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) December 26, 2021
— Jay Sor (@jay_sor_444) December 26, 2021
While the fans are certainly not happy with Rahane’s selection, there is no doubt that he has been India’s best overseas batsman in last few years. Considering his knack of coming to his best form during Boxing day matches, the experienced campaigner will certainly be hoping to silence all his critics once again.